HONOLULU — Two police officers were killed in a shooting Sunday in the normally peaceful Honolulu, Hawaii’s governor said in a statement.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that officers had responded to an assault call when they encountered a male with a firearm, who then opened fire, striking two officers.

“Our entire state mourns the loss of two Honolulu Police officers killed in the line of duty this morning,” Governor David Ige said.

The shots were fired in a neighborhood at the far end of the Waikiki Beach between the Honolulu Zoo and the famed Diamond Head State Monument. The area would be packed with tourists and locals, especially on a weekend.

“It sounded like a lot of shots, or a lot of popping, loud noises going on,” said Honolulu resident Peter Murray. “So hope everybody is all right. Some people got hurt today.”

Some residents said they smelled smoke before hearing gunshots.

“A little bit before 10, we started smelling some smoke, we were in our condominium which is just across the street here, and we didn’t think much about it, so we walked downstairs and went outside to go on down to Waikiki and obviously we started noticed all the emergency vehicles responding and then we started hearing sporadic gunshots,” said resident Robert Brassfield, who also lives part time in California. “That went on for several minutes.”

Officials across the state began releasing statements mourning the lost lives.

“We grieve with HPD and other first-responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine.

A home the suspected gunman was believed to be inside caught fire and was quickly engulfed by flames. The fire at the home has since spread to several neighboring homes and a parked police vehicle.

According to court records, Lois Cain, who owns the home that caught fire, filed an ejection complaint last week against tenant Jaroslav Hanel, also known as Jarda Hanel and Jerry Hanel.

The complaint says he doesn’t have a rental agreement to occupy the property and that he has refused to vacate, and asks that officials remove him from the property. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Hanel had mental health issues, including thinking the government was watching him and tapping his phone, said Jonathan Burge, his lawyer since 2015.

Burge represented him for various disputes with neighbors, including temporary restraining orders neighbors had against him.

Hanel used Czech interpreters in court, he said, and was originally from the Czech Republic.

He lived in Cain’s home rent-free in exchange for handyman work, Burge said.

Hanel pleaded not guilty to misusing 911 services. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

Cain was trying to evict him. “Maybe that’s what set him off,” Burge said. “I never expected him to do that.”

“I’ve never known him to be violent,” the lawyer said. “He’s kind of a quirky guy and had problems.”

Cain was supportive of Hanel in his disputes with neighbors, but their relationship soured recently when his dog died and he wanted a new one, Burge said. She wouldn’t allow him to get a dog.

Neighbors on both sides of the house had temporary restraining orders against Hanel, Burge said.

Nearby resident Dolores Sandvold said she heard screaming and gunshots, and saw that someone had been stabbed. She said she was led out of the area and that she had yet to be allowed back into her home.

“I saw the victim being carried to the ambulance with many, many knife wounds,” she said.

Kailua resident John Farmer said the fire spread to his sister’s nearby house, which burned down. He said neighbors were saying that law enforcement responded to the neighborhood after a resident described as paranoid and threatening attacked the mother of a family that had been living upstairs.

Farmer said the owner was trying to evict the man. He also said neighbors who lived across the street say the woman and the landlord were both put in an ambulance.

“He’s been a problem for 10 years,” Farmer said.

The Honolulu Fire Department was battling the blazes.

No arrests have been made.

Police have closed several streets nearby. The public has been asked to avoid the area.


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